Dumb Starbucks: Everything You Need to Know About the "Parody" Coffee Shop

A place called "Dumb Starbucks" popped up in Los Angeles over the weekend

By Jenna Mullins Feb 10, 2014 5:25 PMTags
Dumb StarbucksTwitter

May the caffeine gods smite the ones who mock our precious Starbucks franchise! Let fire that burns like newly steamed milk and brimstone that smells like pumpkin spice rain down on them!

Nah, just kidding. Although Pumpkin Spice Rain will probably be a coffee flavor by next fall. So, a store called Dumb Starbucks popped up in Los Feliz, Calif., also known as Hipster City, USA. (Some Silver Lake residents would call Los Feliz "Hipster City adjacent," but we digress.)

So what is this place mocking Starbucks? Is it a marketing ploy? Can they get arrested for copyright infringement? Can you actually buy dumb coffee at this Dumb Starbucks? Stop asking questions, guys. It's annoying. But here are the answers you need:

1. What is this?
Dumb Starbucks is an almost-identical version of a regular Starbucks, except everything in it is "dumb." You can order a dumb coffee in a dumb Venti size, peruse the Dumb Jazz Standards CDs, all while looking at the dumb Starbucks logo.

2. OK, What is it actually?
The creators are calling it "parody art." So, it's like a really elaborate and detailed piece of art.

3. Can you actually buy coffee at Dumb Starbucks?
Sort of. They are giving away drinks for free, but you can only get regular coffee or an iced latte. You can also get pastries (purchased from a grocery store) and you can buy Dumb Starbucks mugs. In lieu of payment, you can make a donation.

4. How is this legal?
According to the people behind this (who remain mysteriously anonymous), they are protected under the fair use law. A FAQ posted inside the shop reads: "Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art. So, in the eyes of the law, our 'coffee shop' is actually an art gallery and the 'coffee' you're buying is considered the art. But that's for our lawyers to worry about. All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee!"

5. Are people really buying into this?
Obviously. Once word spread on social media about Dumb Starbucks, people lined up for hours and hours to get free coffee and take all kinds of Instagrams of the fake store.

6. Does the real Starbucks know about this?

7. And what do they think?
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Starbucks said they were "aware of the store" and will be looking into the situation. "It is not affiliated with Starbucks. We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark," they said.

8. I need more info.
Dumb Starbucks has a Twitter account, so it'll probably help to follow them.

9. Will you go out with me?
Depends. What do you do?

10. I'm unemployed. Is that OK?
Not really.

11. I can take you to Dumb Starbucks. How about that?

12. I can take you to Taco Bell.
Deal. Call us!